A local pastor has seen God through people in his life and decided to write a book about it.
Spurling is pastor of East Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Mineola and also works in law enforcement in Tyler.
As a boy raised in the South — Dallas, Louisiana, then Dallas again before attending Texas College in Tyler — religion was a way of life for Spurling’s family, he said. So much so, that his mother insisted that not attending church wasn’t an option, he said.
“My mother could be hard at times, but I was a little soft,” he said. “She taught me a lot.”
Spurling’s book also contains stories about two of his uncles, Uncle Buster and Uncle Brother (the family’s nickname for him).
“One day I got called into the principal’s office; I thought I was in trouble,” Spurling recalled. “But he said that Uncle Brother gave him my lunch money he had forgotten to give me, and that he had brought me a box of chocolate donuts. I was so touched by that. Even though I didn’t like chocolate donuts, they were the best I ever had.”
Because of his religious upbringing, when Spurling went away to college, he didn’t even consider not going to church on his own, he said.
“All the students went to church back then, this was 1981,” he said. “The dorms were empty on Sunday morning. Everyone went to Miles Chapel. If you didn’t get there early, you didn’t get a seat.”
“I first felt the call at 12, but I knew I wasn’t ready then,” he said. “Everyone always wants to say ‘the lightning flashed and the thunder roared,’ but it wasn’t like that. I just felt this urge to do something for someone else … When I went to see Rev. Hawkins, he said, ‘I’ve been waiting for you.’”
In the introduction of his book, Spurling wrote that it was the encouragement of his barber, who had spent years listening to the stories, that inspired him to write a book. His wife, Sherlon, didn’t hesitate with her answer when asked if she was surprised he decided to write a book.
“Not really,” she said with a laugh. “He’s quite a talker … I had heard the stories before, but not all together like this.”
The Spurlings have three children — Austin, Bethany and Hanna.
He’s been pastor of East Chapel for eight years, he said, where he “found himself again,” he said.
“You can get lost in your Christianity too, in bitterness, discouragement,” he said. “I had to get out of that and realize God blesses you when you’re ready for it.”
The book will be available in about two months at amazon.com, or the publisher’s website, publishamerica.com.